Our liver is one of the most important organs of the body and it is important that we keep a track of the liver health and monitor its function through regular tests. A liver functions test is a series of blood tests that help to diagnose and monitor a liver disease and damage. It measures the levels of enzyme and protein in your blood. Besides this, the liver function test also measures if the liver is doing its normal function of protein production and clearing the bilirubin which is the blood toxin.
When is a liver function test done?
- A liver function test is done to screen for liver infections, like hepatitis
- It measures the severity of a liver disease like fatty liver disease or cirrhosis
- It monitors the stage of a viral or alcoholic hepatitis
- It is also used to track if the medications administered for liver disease is working well.
An abnormal liver function test does not necessarily mean that you have a liver disease or you are at a potential risk of liver damage. Your doctor will explain to you what the test results mean.
What are the common liver function tests?
1. Liver function test checks for the levels of enzymes in your liver and if it is helping the body to metabolize the protein properly. If the levels of these enzymes are either higher or lower than the normal range, it indicates a problem with your lover like liver damage. It is also interesting to note that liver function tests like ALT test, AST test, and the ALP test also indicates if there is a problem with your muscles or you have a bone disease.
2. There is also an Albumin test that measures if your liver is functioning properly to make the protein albumin. If your albumin level is below the normal range, it can also indicate an infection or an inflammation, kidney disease or a poor nutrition.
3. Bilirubin test is another important liver function test to monitor if your liver is properly processing the toxin from your blood. If the test indicates an abnormally high level of bilirubin, it indicates that your liver is not functioning properly.
How do you know if you need a liver function test?
A liver function test is usually recommended by the doctor if you are experiencing some abnormal symptoms that might indicate a liver damage or liver disorder.
Here are some symptoms which if you experience you should visit a doctor:
- Loss of energy
- Weight loss
- Water retention in the abdomen along with pain
- Abnormal colored body secretion (like light-colored stools and dark-colored urine)
- Abnormal bleeding
However, if you are already having a liver disease, then a liver function test will help the doctor to determine if you are responding well to the medication and how far your treatment has progressed.